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Major job losses as paper mill closes

Wansbrough Paper Mill is due to close today with the loss of 176 jobs Credit: ITV News

More than 170 people will be left jobless over Christmas with the closure of a Somerset town's biggest employer.

Staff at Wansbrough paper mill in Watchet will clock off for the last time this afternoon. It marks the end of a manufacturing tradition dating back more than 250 years.

The plant owners, DS Smith, have blamed the loss of a major contract and the need for huge investment to bring the mill up-to-date.

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Fears for jobs at Somerset paper mill

Staff at the Wansbrough Paper Mill in Watchet have been told the mill could close this December.

It is a major employer in West Somerset with around 170 workers.

It is owned by DS Smith, a lead supplier of paper and packaging across Europe.

DS Smith has released a statement about the proposal:

“Following a review of the long term economic outlook for the Wansbrough paper mill, today we announced to employees at the mill that we are proposing to close Wansbrough Mill and are entering a period of consultation with employee representatives. The process will take into account all possible options for the future of the site.

"This announcement in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of our employees who continue to support our business.

"We will work closely with Union and employee representatives throughout the consultation process to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further until the completion of the consultation process.”

Early warning of significant delays on Sunday

Significant delays are expected on Somerset roads this weekend as a 145 ton boiler is moved to a paper mill in Watchet.

The boiler is 16ft wide, 16ft high and 100ft long and will be moved on Sunday (January 12). The journey will begin at 9am when it will leave Sedgemoor Services on the M5 and travel to junction 24.

From there it will head into Bridgwater on the A38, turn left onto the A39 Broadway and continue along the A39 through Williton to Washford Cross where it will turn right onto the B3190 and into the paper mill at Watchet.

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